The LA Kings will have to sort out their roster before next Tuesday.
One day after Andreas Athanasiou landed on the NHL’s COVID protocol list, Blake Lizotte did the same. Austin Wagner replaced the former in the LA Kings 5-3 loss to the Wild on Thursday night. With four days before next Tuesday’s game against Anaheim, the Kings have to sort out their roster.
Lizotte had an impressive rookie campaign. As an undrafted free agent out of St. Cloud State, the 23-year-old tallied six goals and 17 assists. Through eight games in his sophomore campaign, Lizotte has been a disappointment, centering the team’s second line. He has just two assists, a -3 rating, and a 25.0 xGF% (expected-goals-for percentage) in five-on-five play.
The off days came at the right time for the Kings, but they could be without both Athanasiou and Lizotte when play resumes. Thursday night marked the first time in nine days that Wagner saw the ice, as he was a healthy scratch for four consecutive games. The 23-year-old comes with a lot of speed, but only one assist this season.
Wagner and Athanasiou are the same type of player, but the Kings lose a lot of proven productivity with the latter being out.
As for Lizotte, head coach Todd McLellan has been critical of him and the team’s second line this season – one that produced a combined 36.2 xGF% on Thursday night. Regardless of the COVID protocol news, several line changes were likely in order before the Kings resume play.
However, with Lizotte out of the lineup, Jaret Anderson-Dolan makes the most sense as plugging into the lineup. The 21-year-old was added to the active roster for the series finale against the Wild as a precautionary measure. He has since returned to the team’s taxi squad, but there’s a good chance we see JAD make his 2021 season debut.
Anderson-Dolan has nine career NHL games to his name, with only one assist. Likely a longshot, but someone like Tyler Madden, who scored two goals in the Ontario Reign’s preseason game on Friday night, would make a lot of sense to get a look at.
LA Kings Schedule
As noted, the Kings will face the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night at the Staples Center. Los Angeles will be debuting their Reverse Retro uniforms for the one-game set.
News and Notes
- The Vegas Golden Knights have been hit hard by COVID cases, postponing Thursday’s game against the Blues and the upcoming series against San Jose. With the LA Kings scheduled to play Vegas next Friday, that will be something to monitor.
- Matt Roy and Sean Walker traveled home with the team on Thursday night. Walker shared a photo of his face on the plane. Warning: it’s not pretty.
- Minnesota Wild forward Kevin Fiala was suspended three games for his hit on Roy. Were three games enough?